Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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Workshops aim to educate undocumented Nevadans about their rights in wake of DACA decision

Last week’s announcement to phase out the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program doesn’t leave those at risk of losing protections without civil rights.

Two free, open-to-the-public workshops to be hosted by the Culinary Union on Wednesday at its central valley headquarters will aim to educate the estimated 13,000 DACA recipients in Nevada affected by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session’s Sept. 4 announcement on what to do if questioned by police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other scenarios.

“If you’re undocumented and are engaged by a legal authority, your rights are the same as anyone else,” Culinary Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said. “This is to make sure everyone knows they have rights in the United States.”

The “Know Your Rights” workshops also aim to educate and prepare those with Temporary Protected Status, which currently provides legal stay in the United States for nationals of 10 countries — El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nepal and Yemen.

“We’re preparing for that program to also one day be taken away,” Khan said. “We want everyone to be educated.”

Although no new applications for the dissolving DACA program are being accepted, current recipients have until Oct. 6 to renew their DACA permits for the next two years through October 2019. Doing so costs $495.

The two 90-minute workshops, set for Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at 1030 S. Commerce St. will feature bilingual English and Spanish instruction, role play to allow visual learners to understand potential scenarios involving police and immigration authorities as well as resources for applying for U.S. citizenship, Khan said. Attendees will leave with a better knowledge on how to prepare their families for an upcoming period of greater insecurity, a booklet for knowing their rights and resources to organizations in the Las Vegas community that work to protect immigrants.

Khan, whose union features over 57,000 workers from the casino, gaming, and culinary industries, including thousands of combined DACA and TPS recipients and other undocumented immigrants, said citizenship is the best way for immigrants to protect themselves from deportation.

Regardless, the union spokeswoman said immigrants in Nevada are “here to stay” and pledged the Culinary Union will continue fighting for their rights.

“We have a temporary president,” she said of the Trump administration. “But we’re in it for the long haul.”